Corn snakes are a nonvenomous species with beautiful patterning that make popular pets. When you have a corn snake as a pet, of course, you will want to make sure they are comfortable and happy. To help you know that they’re comfortable and healthy, here are 12 signs your corn snake is happy to look out for.
12 signs your corn snake is happy
1. They eat and drink normally
Corn snakes aren’t fussy eaters and could probably eat every day if you gave them food. However, a healthy feeding schedule is every 5 to 7 days for snakes 1 year or younger and every 7 to 10 days for older snakes. If your corn snake is regularly eating, it’s a good sign that they are happy and doing well. If your corn snake is eating or drinking less it could be a sign they are entering brumation. However, if they are also losing weight they could be stressed.
2. They move slowly when picked up
If your corn snake is happy and relaxed, they will slither gently through your hands when you pick them up. Sometimes they might even sit relaxed in your hand, not completely still or limp. This means they are comfortable with you. Stressed corn snakes are more likely to try and bite or quickly move out of your grip when handled.
3. They casually flick their tongue
Snakes will flick their tongues in the air as a way to sense their surroundings. They taste the air to identify objects in their area. When the tongue flicking is relaxed and unhurried, it’s a sign they are happy and don’t sense any danger to cause them stress or anxiety.
4. They have clear eyes
When your corn snake is awake, alert, and happy, they will have clear eyes. They may even have casual levels of alertness since snakes often respond to new items in their surroundings.
In contrast, when your corn snake has cloudy, bluish eyes, it can mean they are extra defensive. This usually occurs before, during, or right after they have shed as it’s best not to handle or disturb them during this time.
5. They are draped over rocks or branches
Happy and relaxed corn snakes will almost appear lazy in their enclosure, lounging on rocks or branches. Sometimes you’ll see them curled up on a branch in a relaxed position. These are signs they are happy in their environment and feel relaxed enough to laze around.
6. They are passing waste regularly
Corn snake droppings are typically dark, cord-like, and tubular with pale streaks of dried urine. They will often pass waste 3 to 5 days after they are fed. When they stick to a regular schedule, it’s generally a sign they are healthy and happy.
If your corn snake hasn’t passed any waste after 5 days, they could be experiencing discomfort from constipation. However, their digestion system will also slow down and they will eat less and conserve energy as they enter the brumation stage.
7. They have a gentle grip
When you handle your corn snake you may find they casually grip on to you. This is a sign they are happy and relaxed enough to explore in your hands. The gripping is simply their way of trying to stay stable. Comfortable snakes won’t grip tightly or squeeze to cause you any pain.
8. They aren’t trying to escape
Corn snakes are curious creatures and will explore their enclosure to see if there are any gaps or holes that can let them wander further. However, a happy snake will usually give up their search once they find out the enclosure is secure.
If your snake is uncomfortable, you may see them persistently attempting to escape by interacting continuously with the walls. For example, they might push against the walls, dig by them, or climb up the walls.
9. They show positive behaviors when you handle them
A happy snake that is comfortable with you will typically seek you out when exploring outside their enclosure. You might see them curl up around you or climb you like a tree. Other positive signs include rubbing their heads against you or wrapping around your arm with a gentle grip.
10. They aren’t making any hissing noises
If your snake is relatively quiet, that’s a good sign they are happy. Vocal snakes that are constantly making sounds, such as hissing, are typically stressed and feel threatened. The hissing is a defensive mechanism to scare predators away. They will sometimes also do a short hiss as they are about to strike.
11. They can easily shed their skin
When corn snakes grow, their skin doesn’t grow with them, so they need to shed the outer layer of their skin to aid in growth and remove any parasites that may have attached to them. As your corn snake gets older, they typically shed their skin less often, from once every few weeks to once every few months.
A happy snake living in an adequately humid enclosure with surfaces they can rub against will find it easy to shed their skin. Abnormal shedding – either too often or unsuccessfully – can be signs of health issues, such as wounds, or distress in their environment.
12. They maintain regular habits
Corn snakes are individual creatures that have their own specific habits. By observing your snake and seeing what their normal behaviors and routines are, you’ll be able to tell later on when they are happy. Comfortable snakes tend to stick to routines, such as how vigorously they drink or eat and how often they explore their enclosure. In contrast, a sudden behavior change may be a sign they are stressed.